For UNICEF Somalia, 2016 was a year where we succeeded in making important progress for children’s rights despite significant challenges.
During the year, the Federal Government of Somalia adopted the country’s first National Development Plan in 30 years. UNICEF ensured that it included child-focused data and a multi-sectoral nutritional approach coherent with the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. Additionally, we emphasized social protection and resilience as key elements supporting improved access to basic services.
The humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate in 2016, with the El Niño weather system causing severe drought in the north of the country and flooding in the south. UNICEF Somalia supported drought-affected communities through the provision of water vouchers and integrated mobile health and nutrition services. We also responded quickly to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea, providing treatment to over 14,000 people.
Overall, UNICEF treated around 91,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five. The treated children had a recovery rate of 93 per cent. In partnership with WHO and UNFPA, we supported the improved availability of health services for 5.7 million people, including 900,000 children in 47 targeted districts. Somalia maintained its polio-free status, with five polio immunization campaigns from UNICEF and partners that reached 2.3 million children.
UNICEF also supported the disengagement and reintegration of children associated with armed groups and monitored and reported on grave human rights violations. We also prevented and responded to incidents of gender-based violence, reaching over 4,000 survivors. Finally, we helped nearly 66,000 children to enroll in primary school.
Using innovative techniques such as unconditional cash transfers for 5,000 households through the WFP-developed e-transfer cards, and interactive radio shows to broadcast information and gather audience data, we managed to go beyond our regular programming.
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force and UNICEF is incorporating the SDGs into our planning and our work.
As we go to press, UNICEF Somalia has massively scaled up its operations to alleviate the effects of the prolonged drought affecting the lives of millions of Somalis. At the same time, we continue to work for a brighter future for all children in the country, particularly the most vulnerable, and to ensure they are able to access their rights through the implementation of the recently ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child.